I hope you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to bringing in 2016 in style! I always like to look back on my year and sort of go through the ups and downs that I have experienced. This year I thought I would do it here. If I had to use one word to describe 2015 I think it would be extreme. There have been some some incredible highs and devastating lows. The reason I wanted to do it in my blog was because many of my highs this year were to do with my health and my sport which you may have noticed, is what I like to write about the most. So with that out of the way, lets get started.
There really have been some big positives for me this year. I recently celebrated 10 years together with my wonderful wife, I experienced success in sport, I cracked the food riddle which I have been battling for years and I made a number of new friends.
Without doubt for me, the number one experience I had this year was the Nepean Triathlon. This is a race that is iconic in Australia. It is the oldest triathlon in the country and I agreed to sign up for it because one of my friends had signed up for his first triathlon. The odd distance meant that I didn't really know what to expect going into the race but with a 10km run I wanted to finally do a sub 40 minute run off the bike. I was thrilled to succeed. But the reason why Nepean Tri was my highlight of the year was because my younger brother, Luke, had signed up and trained in secret for the race. When I rocked up to registration there he was with all of his gear. I am incredibly close to my brother and have been trying to get him to do a triathlon for years so to have him there was brilliant. I wanted to be at the finish line when he crossed and I was lucky enough to be there. This was also the first time that I had a big group of friends and family come and see my race and race well. The day was made even better by seeing my friend Andy battle the voices in his head and complete his first triathlon. After the race we all went out for a huge dinner which I think took me longer to recover from than the race did.
The other significant sporting highs for 2015 were my success at a number of races this year. Winning the double in Thailand was incredible. Making the podium in Indonesia was also an absolute highlight and considering the way I got there with a bad bike crash and struggling on the run made it even more special. Bintan was also where I managed to qualify for the 2016 70.3 World Championships. If that wasn't enough I even managed to somehow make the podium in Taupo. Taupo was a real confidence booster for me. I felt like I had kind of cheated the system a little bit by qualifying in Indonesia so to qualify again in New Zealand really made me feel like I earned my spot on the Sunshine Coast next year. It is funny to look at this year in contrast with last year. I had slower race results this year compared to last (mostly owing to my crash and tougher conditions) but I had a much more successful year.
This year I was featured in 220 Triathlon Australia Magazine and interviewed on a number of podcasts including Chris 'Macca. McCormack's. After this things have started to get a little hectic. My social media accounts started to go a little crazy and my website started to see some serious traffic. I got a number of new clients which allowed me to give up a job I did not like and I have been much happier since. Me and Dez also really started to work on our diet and I saw my total weight loss fall to over 50kgs. This is ridiculous for me to comprehend. I literally cannot lift that much weight so the thought that I was carrying it around on my body makes me wonder why I am not stronger on the bike...
I managed to travel to some new places that I always wanted to visit including a week in Singapore and a wicked weekend in New Zealand with the boys. I spent 2 weeks training in paradise with some of the best triathletes in the world at Thanyapura, Phuket. I have also been able to travel down to Melbourne multiple times now that my Dad lives down there. I love Melbourne and I am really getting the opportunity to explore the city in new and different ways (mostly running and riding). I have actually done so much travelling this year that I am quite happy not to fly for some time.
There have been so many other positives to come out of this year. I worked out what sort of law I would like to practice (family) I have eaten some amazing food and had some really fun nights out. But I think the main things have been covered. However I don't want you to all think I have had the perfect year.
My family has had some very serious health issues this year including my Mum finding another aneurysm in her brain. She had one burst many years ago and had to have brain surgery. That was without doubt the worst day of my life so the news that it might happen again has been hard to handle. We also lost my grandmother, Nancy this year. I lost my Grandad when I was four years old so this was the first time I have really lost a member of my family. It was very difficult to deal with and to rub salt into the wound, I had to sit two university exams in the days that followed. But that is enough about that.
The other very low low I had this year was my bike crash in Indonesia. I think that when I went down I didn't realise how much damage I had done to myself. It literally took me months to recover fully where I was able to run and ride properly. I stupidly neglected to see a doctor (yes I know, Dez got very angry at me for it). While I have had other crashes before this was the first really bad crash that I had. While it was very painful and scary I am quite glad that it happened. I know what to expect now if it happens again and at the end of the day I was quite lucky to not be more beaten up with no broken bones. I am still quite nervous descending on the bike but am working to get my confidence back.
I copped my first drafting penalty in a race this year which wasn't the end of the world but was more humiliating and annoying than anything else. I do not draft and to be penalised when so many others were blatantly doing it enraged me beyond belief. Again it isn't anything too serious but another low point for me this year. Thats about it for my serious low points. There were times where I struggled with motivation and lost focus but that is all part and parcel of triathlon.
So that is it. I think overall my 2015 has been an incredible 12 months that has absolutely flown by. I wanted to finish with some things that I think have been significant for 2015. Firstly I have met some amazing new people this year through the sport. A number of whom I consider true friends now and I catch up with them regularly. I have been able to introduce some healthy habits into some of my less than active friends and a group of us even make Saturday parkrun a weekly ritual. I have discovered some exciting new cycling routes in and around Sydney.
I also wanted to thank all of my readers. As I mentioned earlier, my website gets a lot of traffic now and there are literally thousands of you who are reading my blogs so a huge thank you. I am constantly blown away when people come up to me at races and tell me that they read my blog. I really appreciate all of the support and all of your kind words. I started this little blog up to do something I love, writing, and to have people really appreciate it makes it even more special. A big thank you too to my supporters especially the gang at Thanyapura and True Amino. Check these guys out as they are the goods!
I think that is enough of me for 2015. It has been a huge year and one in which I have ticked off a number of bucket list items. But how about all of you? Let me know what have been your high and low points during 2015. I mean this when I say that I love to hear from you. So leave a comment with your best of 2015.
Have a happy new year, see you in 2016 and remember to TRI!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Christmas is my favourite time of the year. The weather is warm, everyone is in a good mood and it gives us all the opportunity to come together with our friends and family. While it is an incredibly positive time of the year it can also be a very stressful and depressing time of year for some people too. We all tend to overindulge a bit with all of the parties, get-togethers and if your mum is anything like mine there will be an excess of food for your Christmas meal. For me, this year I have 3 full on days of Christmas celebration. My in-laws are over from Norway so we will be celebrating with them on Christmas Eve. My Dad is coming back to Sydney from Melbourne and we will spend Christmas Day with his side of the family. Finally, we have Boxing Day with my Mum's side of the family. As you can imagine, your best laid plans to watch what you eat or make smart food choices can go out the window a little bit. I want to really try and make people understand that this doesn't need to be a bad thing.
I have a funny image in my head while I am writing this of Santa Claus standing next to the Christmas tree after delivering the presents. He is eyeing off that plate of cookies and glass of milk. I know and you know that he wants to eat it but there is an internal battle inside of him. The voices in his head are saying, "you aren't getting any younger and the chimneys are not getting any skinnier". I can imagine him actually walking to the fire place and seeing how wide his waist is and then comparing it to the chimney. He takes a sad sigh and instead of going for the cookies, resentfully takes a bite of the carrots left for the reindeer. Don't be ridiculous! Santa doesn't have time for that shit! He knows what he wants and takes it. I bet he doesn't even feel guilty about it after. Too many people who are trying to lose weight can have emotional responses to food. What I mean is that they often eat because they are unhappy or upset. They plan to behave themselves on Christmas and when it doesn't happen they spiral into a tirade of emotional eating. Lets get this out of the way quickly, it is Christmas, one of 365 days of the year. If you want to have a day where you eat whatever you want then this is the day to do it.
The post-Christmas depression which can result from people overeating is often much more damaging than the eating that people do at Christmas time itself. If you have one bad day and feel like shit because of it, don't make it worse by eating shit for the next 2 weeks. Those 2 weeks of bad food decisions will have a much longer lasting impact than Christmas itself. I also feel like I should say that I am sure there are people who do show a lot of self-control on Christmas. That is awesome too. If you are able to maintain your healthy eating habits then go for it. I think it is more the case that when you go and visit your friends and family who have prepared the food you are sometimes unable to control what you have available to you. The main point though is to not let it get you down if you do overdo it a little. If you want to have a day of indulgence do it! Just don't feel like garbage afterwards because you have put on some weight. It isn't the end of the world.
Now onto how I think you can help to manage both your emotions as well as regulate exactly how much you do consume. Firstly, if you are keeping a food journal (something I highly recommend) don't bother recording the food you eat at Christmas. Just enjoy it and treat it like the mother of all cheat days. While you are celebrating Christmas maybe avoid the snacks like candy and chocolate and instead go for the meat and veggies for lunch or dinner. If you really do want to avoid eating too much but have poor self-control you can set yourself a goal for boxing day. "I am going to go for a 2 hour run at 7am" if you commit to that, you will rethink that extra beer of 5th serving of pavlova. I know I keep going on about it but I do not think this is something that people need to do though. I am not saying that you should try and see how much you can fit in and eat until you are sick. Instead I am saying, have fun, celebrate Christmas, spend time with your friends and family and do not let what you put into your body for one day of the year impact on your perception of yourself for days or weeks to follow. Christmas is meant to be a happy time of celebration. So celebrate and remember the only fat man at Christmas time that matters doesn't count calories while he is working his way around the world eating cookies as he goes.
For me this has been an incredible year where eI have exceeded my own expectations several times. I will do a sort of year in review next week to go though all of the goals I set for myself and where I have met, exceeded or fallen below my expectations. But how about you? What sort of tricks do you use at this time of year to stay on top of your healthy habits? What have been your worst post-Christmas blues? Lets all share our stories so that people know that they are not alone in this.
Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you spend it with friends and family and have a great day and that as always, you remember to TRI!
I feel like all I am doing lately is writing race reports. I suppose that is what happens when you do a lot of races. I headed over to New Zealand for the weekend to race the newly branded Taupo 70.3. Taupo is about a 3 hour drive south of Auckland and is situated on the edge of Lake Taupo (a really big lake). After coming home from Thailand the last thing I really wanted to do was to jump on a plane to New Zealand and do another race. I think I thought that winning 2 races in a row was a nice way to end my year. Alas, I had paid the entry and the airfares and accommodation. I decided I would go but would make a decision on the race when I got there. The main reason I was going for this trip was to catch up with some of my friends who live all around Australia and in New Zealand. Basically it was going to be a boys weekend... with a 70.3.
When we got to Taupo I was blown away by how beautiful it was (after initially stating how NZ seemed just a little bit shit). The lake was amazing and the town had everything, pubs, bike shops and great food and coffee. The only issue I was having once arriving was the temperature. In the mornings it was cold, under 10c and I had just spent a lot of time in Thailand where the only thing under 10c is the beer. Early in the morning it was particularly cold but tended to warm up in the afternoon. The water was also cold. I think on race morning it was 17c which was 10c colder than in Thailand. I also made a decision pretty early on that if it was raining on race day I would not compete. So with all that out of the way onto the race.
When I woke up on Saturday morning it was overcast but not raining. I really did not want to get up and get ready. I went through all the motions and headed over to get transition ready. As I was leaving transition it started to sprinkle. The perfect opportunity to pull out. I decided I would start the race and if it was raining when I came out of the water I would withdraw. I was at the swim start in my wetsuit. It was cold but I was ready to have a crack.
The race was a 1 loop swim with a deep water start. I started to the left of the majority of athletes because it was cold I didn't want to get too involved in all the rough and tumble. The gun went off and as I went out I could feel fatigue in my arms straight away. I knew it wasn't going to be a brilliant swim. At the same time the insides of my feet were cramping (I think because of the cold). I was really thinking to myself I am just gonna pull out. In fact the only reason I didn't was because I didn't want to be the odd one out with the boys that night at the pub. I only had one incident in the water when a guy randomly grabbed me on the arm. I shook him off and whacked him back. Otherwise I came out of the water feeling ok. I knew I had not swum hard enough but considering the temperature and the volume in recent weeks I was happy enough. My swim split was 31:56.
At Taupo there is a long run with stairs into T1. In total it is around 800m and I was lucky enough to run most of it chatting a bit with Terenzo Bozzone who was doing a team event. I got into transition and was so happy I had left a towel over my stuff. My helmet was dry and so was the visor. I ran out feeling pretty good about the bike. The thought of withdrawing did not even enter my mind. It was a long T1 of 4:14.
Everyone who I know who has ridden or raced in Taupo has told me three things. There is a big climb, the roads are terrible and it is very windy. We had gone out for a practice ride on Thursday and the wind had been so bad I was contemplating trying to hire a wheel that wasn't as deep as mine. The course basically goes along the lake before making a big climb out onto the main road you ride on. The climb was not that big a deal at all. I rolled over it and overtook way too many people. Something I was going to have to get used to. My wave start was the 2nd last one meaning the majority of athletes were already on course. Once out on the main road I passed on of my Team MaccaX teammates, Saleh who I noticed wasn't riding in his aero position. I quickly snapped at him to get moving as I passed him. I then settled into a rhythm. The course is very up and down with some really fast sections and some really slow sections. The roads were rough in some parts but overall the road surfaces were good. I definitely noticed a lot of drafting out on course once again. I had some people sitting on my wheel for over 40kms. That will be the topic for an upcoming blog post though. I was passing a lot of people and noticed that there were a big number of E's on their calves (the letter so you know what age group they are in).
At the turn around point I assumed it was going to get harder because there had been some really fast down hill sections. The first 15km back was relatively easy and quite fast. By about the 70km mark where lots of the hills came into play so did fatigue. I could feel my legs getting a little tired. I was just focusing on getting to the 80km point where you ride back past the racing track in Taupo. From there it is basically down hill back into town. When I finally came across the race track a number of people passed me. Some thanked me for 'pacing' them and another said he tried to pull a turn on the front but couldn't handle the pace. I will leave that for you to interpret. I focused on flushing out my legs by riding with high cadence back into town. I tried to avoid free-wheeling and stretched as much as possible. My bike split was 2:26.
I did another fancy dismount coming into transition and was actually overtaking people as we ran our bikes in to rack them. Grabbed my hat and race number and noticed that my legs were feeling good. As I left transition I noticed Scotty, one of the blokes I was staying with was there. He had double punctured and had to pull out. He was reminded of this for the rest of the trip constantly. My T2 split was 1:20.
I wanted to run well in Taupo. My run has plagued me as the weakest leg and I have been doing lots of work on it. I sometimes forget that 4 years ago I could not run 200m let alone 21.1km but still I have big goals and expect a lot. Speaking with my coach he set me a 7km split of 31 minutes. I came out and felt really good. I did have to stop for a quick piss break but then was off. The run course, much like the ride was tougher than I had anticipated with some serious climbs. I tried not to look at my watch too much but focused on running well and what felt slightly conservative. The course is 2 loops and there are sections where you are running next to athletes going the other way and parts where you are by yourself. I felt like I was running well and even passed some of the people that I 'paced' on the bike. At the 7km mark I saw that my time was 29 minutes. I was overcooking myself and was probably going to pay for it. The support on course made it easy to get a little carried away and I was constantly hearing shouts for go Tim! Near the finish line and end of the first lap there is a steep hill (the same one you go up from the swim to transition), I felt pretty good and set off for my second lap. I might be able to go under 1:30 for the run split.
Obviously not. After about 13kms I started to slow down. My pace was dropping and I was now watching my Garmin a lot more to see my pace. As I came out of town I was passed by a Kiwi bloke who said "come on mate, come with me" I did. I sat on his shoulder and just focused on running with him. It started to feel easier and easier. I ran with him for maybe 3km and when we got the the far end of the run course I was feeling good. I thanked him so much for his help and tried to run home strong. My pace was a little all over the place the last 5km but I was definitely pushing it. I had a blast running through town and spotted most of my friends and teammates at some point. I really wanted to attack the hill before the finish line so I went for it. From the top of the hill to the finish line is maybe 400m. Those 400m hurt bad. I got to the top of the hill and was doubled over with a stitch. Like I had been stabbed on my right hand side. I was breathing like I was in labour and hobbling doubled over in pain. I made it to the finish line unable to high-five anyone or anything. I can't wait to see the race photos because I think they will be hilarious. My run split was 1:31 (a run PB).
I headed into recovery and saw a few of my friends. I then went and got my bag and once again I noticed my phone had exploded. The first message was from my wife "You're insane". I had no idea what she was on about. She told me I had come 3rd in my age group. This was my third podium in as many races and my 4th for the year. I was over the moon and it was completely unexpected. My total race time was 4:34 which was tantalisingly close to that sub 4:30 I have been chasing for too long now. But to make the podium again and to do it in New Zealand was awesome. The race was much tougher than I expected and it made me feel like I have really overcome a plateau in my performance. We all headed down to the finish area to cheer people home. One of our mates and the bloke who I stayed with in Phuket, Matho, absolutely smashed his PB by 18 minutes and did it after struggling on the run. As he came in we actually made him a tunnel to run through. It made an amazing day better by spending it with such a good group of friends.
To me, this weekend is something that most of us should try and do at leas once a year. It is going away with a bunch of your mates to do something you love that reminds you to have fun and why we do this. I could not think of a better group of blokes to spend the weekend with. To Scott, you are a bloody legend mate. It is not often you can meet someone and within 24 hours feel completely comfortable with them. To Matho, mate you were seriously inspiring to watch on Saturday and I cannot wait to watch you race Port Mac. Saleh, you did not give up despite all the other stuff going on and also managed to crush a PB. To Aaron, I am glad you got what you needed to out of the weekend, both on and off course. Robo, you are such a positive guy to be around. I really hope this weekend has made you want to stick with triathlon because if you leave, the sport will be worse off.
Thats it this week. No list of thank you's because I have done it so much lately. I would like to add that I have recently partnered with an Australian husband and wife company called True Amino who make some of the best supplements I have tried. So if you do use protein or anything else, head to their site and make sure you tell them I sent you.
Train hard, have some fun and remember to TRI!
Sawadikap (Thai for hello),
Im sitting at the bar overlooking the pool at Thanyapura on my last day here. I am flying back to Sydney after what has been an incredible 2 weeks here. I have met amazing new people including coaches, age groupers (some who are nearly 80) and even some World Champion athletes. I have been pushed harder than I thought I could or should go. I have learned a lot about myself as an athlete, husband, man and human. I have found the focus I have been missing for most of this year. I also won 2 races.
Now before you all get too excited about the title of this blog and start mentioning lady boys and other Thai stereotypes I want to be honest with you. I wanted to win on Sunday. While I never came here with that exact goal, I decided while I was up on stage after the Laguna Phuket Triathlon that I wanted to do the double. The only problem I had was that everyone here also wanted me to win. Maybe it is part of being Australian and our whole idea of 'tall poppy syndrome' but I am never comfortable admitting my big goals or accepting praise for my success. I think part of it was also the fear of failure. If I put it out there that I wanted to win and failed I would be worried I would look like a dick. So this week has been a real challenge for me with a large contingent of people asking me or telling me that they think I will win my age group at Challenge Phuket.
So sit back, grab a drink and settle in for what will be one hell of a ride. Trust me when I say I really enjoyed this race so I am expecting to enjoy writing this race report too.
On Saturday night I was terrified. I was convinced that there was no way I would be able to have a good race. All the excuses came into my mind. I went to bed early knowing I would need to be up at 3:30 in the morning (we do this for fun). I struggled to really sleep but did manage to get some rest. In the morning we got to transition as it opened and I was delighted to find that on my rack there were only 2 bikes. This meant I had extra room to set up my stuff. I specifically requested transition training during the week and was keen to put those lessons into practice. I got everything ready, then made my way to the beach start. Like LPT the wave starts were determined based on your estimated swim time. This meant that I was in the first wave. I did not enjoy the swim the week before and decided to go to the far left instead of the right. I thought it was actually a straighter line to the far turning buoy from the left. We lined up and waited for the gun to go on my 14th 70.3 triathlon.
Straight into the water and I went out very hard. I breath to my right which meant I had a good view of all of the swimmers on my right. Straight away I knew I had made the right decision. I was not being kicked, punched or grabbed. There was a group that got away after a few hundred metres but other than that, not too many people were passing me. I was swimming really well and was surprised how quickly the far buoy came up. At this time I noticed that someone was swimming on my feet. No free ride for you today dickhead. I kicked hard and put on a bit of a surge and actually found the feet of someone swimming slightly quicker than me. Jackpot! There was also some cloud cover which made sighting very easy. The swim back to the beach was completely non-eventful with nothing major to report. I came out of the beach and started to make my way over the sand dunes. When I hit the lagoon for the last part of the swim I knew I had been swimming hard because I was struggling to breath. I did maybe 5 strokes of breastroke and got on with it. In the lagoon I felt like I was overtaken by a large number of swimmers. I didn't really care though because I just wanted to get out of the water. I was delighted to swim and almost straight line across the lagoon and come out of the water. I did not realise it at the time but I completed the swim in 27:00 and my Garmin had the distance as 2160m! Finally a well executed swim!
I was having issues with my speed suit in transition and also forgot to grab my race number as I ran off with my bike. The quicker swim was obviously impacting on my ability to act like a normal person. I ran to the mount line with my shirt undone and did it up before jumping on the bike. I was still very happy with my transition time of 1:46.
Ask anyone who has done this course and they will tell you I am not lying when I say it is fucking brutally brilliant. What do I mean? I mean that the nice parts are some of the sexiest roads you will ever ride in your life while the hard parts are some of the worst. The course is essentially divided into three parts. Before the first hills, between the two sets of hills and after the last hills. This is a race where you need to ride conservatively because the hills are that bad. Not to mention the fact that it is somewhere around 40c and so humid you can barely breath. I was trying to ride within myself for the start of the bike. There is a pedestrian bridge which you are required to jump off your bike and run over at this race because it goes over the major Phuket highway. I dropped my chain on the way down which meant I had to stress to get it sorted. Much like the week before, I was not seeing many riders and those I did see I was passing pretty easily. At around the 30km mark a guy passed me on the bike and he looked like he might be my age. He was the only person I saw that was of a similar age so I assumed he was in my age group. forget conservative, it was time to work. I started to follow him (ensuring I did not draft). I also noticed this guy was looking back at me ALOT. Im a nice guy so I even took a turn on the front but as we came towards the first hills I backed right off to get the body ready.
One of the highlights of the day was getting to climb the first set of hills with Beth Gerdes, an amazing female pro who with her partner, Luke McKenzie, are doing amazing things for the sport. As we rode over the first set off hills I stayed seated and wanted a nice smooth pace. On the descent my cycling mate disappeared out of sight. I assumed I would catch him again on the bike (I didn't). Onto the second part of the race. This time I was going to push to the pedestrian bridge which I would need to cross again then conserve before the second set of brutal horrid climbs. There were some glorious patches of smooth fast roads which made pushing the pace easy. There were some parts where I felt like a TDF rider on cobblestones. Still, the ride was not really hurting me. I felt amazing and I was really enjoying the race. I had no idea where I was in my age group but had assumed that I had lost a fair chunk of time in the swim. I was completely ok with it.
After the second crossing of the pedestrian bridge (complete with a piss stop) I rode very conservatively. I knew how bad the Naithon hills were from the week before and this time we were going the opposite (and harder) direction. Right before the turn off for the hills I had a truck pull out in front of me and slow right down. I used a set of words that I do not think even a fluent english speaker would understand or approve of. He speed up and I was ready for the hills. At the bottom I kid you not, I was talking to my bike "Come on baby, we have seen so much together". "Lets do this, we know what to do". The climb started and it was the same as the first set. Stay seated and find a good rhythm. I was delighted to pass so many familiar faces on the hills including Azza from MaccaX and Clint Kimmins, one of the legends from Thanyapura. Clint was at the point of the 3rd climb which is steepest (something like 30%) and shouted to flush the legs out for the run. It was good advice. I increased my cadence for the last 10km home. I was actually excited to try the new dismount we had practiced that week while training. As I came towards transition I thought I heard my friends yell "you are in 3rd place". This run was going to be fun. Total bike split of 2:36.
I managed to do a proper dismount without kicking off any bottles and ran into transition very quickly. I did everything I had learned that week. Things as simple as put your hat on last (you can do it while running) all made a difference and I came away with my fastest T2 split to date of 57 seconds.
The plan for the run was to split the race into three 7km sections and run the first in around 33 minutes. This is a much slower pace to what I normally run but you cannot run fast in this heat. I set off and straight away focused on staying conservative and in control. I felt really comfortable running at 4:30 pace and was able to focus on staying cool by grabbing multiple sponges at every aid station. The run course is 2 laps with 2 sections where it is very easy to spot your competition. When I came to the first of these sections which is a big T I spotted my mate off the bike. He wasn't as far ahead of me as I had expected. I set my sights on him and kept going. At about the 4km mark he stopped at an aid station and I managed to pass him. I assumed that having to stop meant he was in a bit of pain. The hardest part of this course is an out and back again section which is HOT and LONG. Today for some reason it seemed like every person in Phuket wanted to be out in their car, truck or bike and drive down this stretch of road. So add to the heat some amazing exhaust fumes. I was still feeling pretty good and saw that my first 7km was in around 32 minutes so I was running a bit quicker than I had expected. But man I was having fun and feeling good. I don't remember seeing the guy at the turn around point on that section of the run but I was having a great time. I completed the first lap and had all of my non-racing friends cheering me on. One of them, Marek, who was following the online results told me that the guy I had been targeting was indeed in my age group and at the same time I noticed that he had not fallen very far behind me, maybe 75 metres. I had a plan on how I was going to deal with it.
*** I have no idea if the following actually made any difference or anything but in my mind it is a gripping story of race strategy and tactics. Plus it is my blog and I will write it how I bloody want***
One of the good things about having access to someone like Chris McCormack is that you learn race strategy. He is constantly telling me things like 'don't be a victim' or passing on some of his race knowledge. I decided I needed to break my competitor mentally. The big T section of the course was going to be the perfect place to do it. I wanted to stay quite conservative so that when we passed each other again the gap wasn't too big. That is how it happened. When I turned around I was maybe 150 metres ahead of him. Then as soon as I passed him I buried myself. I ran a much faster pace trying to put as big a gap on him as I could. It hurt really bad but I was not over doing it as there was still another 8km to run after the T. As I made the turn I really tried to make sure that I looked good. I wanted it to look like I was running very easy. The pace part had worked. I had put a decent chunk of time into him and as I passed him I gave him a look. He didn't look back at me. I still wasn't convinced I was in first place at this time but I was sure I was on the podium. It was mine to lose. As I came to the long straight it was starting to hurt a bit. I could feel my hamstrings starting to twinge a little and was just hoping they would hold it together. Once again I wanted to run the last part hard so at 1.5km I threw away the multiple sponges stored within my clothing and zipped up my shirt. I managed to pick up the pace a bit and as I turned the final turn towards the finish I looked over my shoulder. Old mate was no where to be seen. I was not only finishing the race but I knew I had made the podium. I ran down the finish chute with a smile and even did a little celebration as I crossed the finish line. My run split was 1:38 which was almost the same as my Sunny Coast run a few months earlier in much tougher conditions. My total race time was 4:45 and we confirmed after the race I had won my age group.
I was pretty excited after the race but like the week before with the swim starts I did not believe I had won the AG until I got that trophy in my hands. We had multiple athletes from MaccaX racing including my room mate Matho. Matho was not having a good time of it and when he came in for his second lap he started saying that he was going to pull out. I put down my beer and grabbed my hat and told him I would run with him. His coach Justin Granger did the same thing so we started to run the last lap together. I realised pretty quickly I would not be able to run the whole way so instead would go to key turn around points and wait for Matho and Justin. I love cheering on other athletes after I have finished and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Matho was starting to run really well which made me happy and came across the line with a massive negative split. We waited for everyone to come across the line.
The awards ceremony was awesome and there was some crazy stuff happening at the after party. I got to meet Tim O'Donnell and Mirinda Carfare and a whole heap of other professional triathletes but what happens in Phuket stays in Phuket.
I have had an absolute blast here in Phuket over the last two weeks. I really think this is an incredible place to come and train and it is fast becoming a real centre for triathlon. I can't wait to come back again next year and race again.
Now to the thank you's. As always my amazing wife Dez, I know you weren't there on Sunday but trust me when I say that you really were. You were the first thing I thought about as I crossed that finish line. To my coach Ben, mate this is becoming a habit. I look forward to lifting the bar again next year. To my family who really must be starting to get a good understanding of this as they actually knew I had won before I told them! To the entire gang at MaccaX, My phone nearly exploded after the race on Sunday. A special shout out to Craig Toh for his amazing photography skills and for out-stalking the stalker. To the team at Thanyapura, it is an honour to represent you and I am so happy to be able to achieve this success at your local race.
So that is is, my lucky number is 14, always has been. I think that me winning my first 70.3 at my 14th 70.3 is not a coincidence. What a whirlwind this trip has been . I hope to have some of you, my readers, here with me next year!
Train hard, dream big and whatever you do always remember to TRI!
I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.